Declan Donnellan was born in England of Irish parents in 1953.

He grew up in London, read English and Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge and was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1978.

He and his partner, stage designer, Nick Ormerod, formed Cheek by Jowl in 1981 and have since directed and designed over 30 productions for the company.
In 1989 he was made Associate Director of the Royal National Theatre in London where his productions have included
For the Royal Shakespeare Company his work includes THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL and GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
He has also directed LE CID for the Avignon Festival. He was invited by Claudio Abbado to direct FALSTAFF at the Salzburg Festival, by the
Bolshoi to direct the ballet of ROMEO AND JULIET, by Lev Dodin to stage the WINTER’S TALE at the Maly drama theatre in St Petersburg and by
Peter Brook to direct ANDROMAQUE at the Bouffes du Nord.
In 2000 he formed a company of actors in Moscow, under the auspices of The Chekhov Festival, whose productions include BORIS GODUNOV, TWELFTH NIGHT, THREE SISTERS, and THE TEMPEST.
He has written a play, LADY BETTY, about Ireland’s notorious hangwoman and has adapted DON’T FOOL WITH LOVE by de Musset, ANTIGONE by Sophocles, THE MANDATE by Erdman and MASQUERADE by Lermontov.
He has made a feature film BEL-AMI with Robert Patterson and Uma Thurman, co-directed with Nick Ormerod.
His book, THE ACTOR AND THE TARGET, originally published in Russian (2001),
has since appeared in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Romanian and Mandarin. The second English edition was published in 2005.
He has received several awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London including the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement. He was made a
Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France. In 1998 he shared the Charlemagne award with Craig Venter and Archbishop
Desmond Tutu.